Your baby’s developing years is mainly about gas pains, diarrhea, constipation, and other stomach problems. It happens because the baby’s digestive system is not yet fully matured. As such, it’s not uncommon for moms to rely on natural liniments like wintergreen oil, camphor, or castor oil. Some pediatricians may even recommend gripe water for alleviating colic in infants as early as two weeks old. If you have heard about the wonders of jeera or cumin water, would you consider it for your little one too?
In some countries, Cumin is one of the most essential spices often used for treating stomach illnesses in babies. Accordingly, it can help boost the digestive system and fight viruses and bacteria in the gut. It aids your baby’s immature digestive system by increasing the enzymes that help break down food. Cumin may also contain traces of essential nutrients to boost the baby’s immune system and brings about other health benefits. But remember that spices, water, and other solid foods are only introduced to babies at least six months of age.
Table of Contents
What is Cumin Tea?
Cumin is a boat-shaped seed that comes from a plant from the parsley family. It is a famous spice in most Indian, Mexican, and Mid-Eastern dishes lending that earthly and spicy tang in food. But aside from flavoring dishes, it is also a powerful spice for various body ailments.
Cumin or jeera water is known for its digestive and immune advantage. But, adults are not the only ones who can reap its benefits. In a moderate amount, it can also offer various help for your little tot’s developing body.
Benefits of Cumin in Babies
One of the most common reasons for pedia visits aside from seasonal stifles is a baby’s tummy problem. As a healthcare practitioner myself, I am often at the end of my friends’ endless new-mommy-questions. And more often than not, I could expect that same worried mum at the ER a few hours later. The baby would appear fine; it’s the mother’s anxiety that fuels the trip to the hospital at the unholy hour of the night.
So it’s good to know that some of your pantry ingredients like cumin can be useful for your baby. Here are some known benefits of cumin for little children and why you need to keep a jar handy:
Improve baby’s digestion and treat digestive problems
A baby’s immature digestive system can have trouble processing foods. You will find diarrhea or constipation a constant annoying problem as they start on a solid diet. Cumin helps ward this off by increasing your baby’s enzyme production. These enzymes are capable of breaking down food to make it easier for his stomach to process and release.
Boost his immune responses
Cumin also helps the baby’s body maintain the normal function of his immune system. The cumin seed contains Vitamin C and powerful antioxidants. It reduces the chances of your baby falling sick from common infections affecting little children. And, it helps speed up his recovery in instances when he does get sick.
It has antibacterial and antifungal properties
As it is said, babies explore the world with their mouths. So the chances of bacterial and fungal infection are also as high as the viral contagion. Introducing cumin water to your child can protect him from these pathogens. Additionally, it also has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. As a topical, cumin can also treat fungal and microbial infections on the skin.
Treat respiratory problem and act as a decongestant
Like digestive problems, your baby can also catch most of the seasonal cold and flu. Cumin can help your child sleep better into the night with its decongestive property. It helps thin down the mucus so he can breathe easily and recover faster from his symptoms. This is also beneficial for babies suffering from asthma.
Some babies are naturally picky, which can send moms at their edge when it comes to proper nutrition. But giving cumin water to children can increase their hunger to make them crave food, thereby improving their appetite. This way, you can introduce more varied food to satisfy his cravings.
Reduce acid reflux
Since the baby’s digestive system is not yet fully developed, food can easily back up his esophagus. This can cause acid reflux and even heartburn. But if his stomach can properly process solid foods, the chance of reflux is lower. Cumin can offer this benefit to babies by also reducing their acidity and preventing stomach bloating.
On the other hand, did you know that cumin water is also beneficial for lactating mothers? Cumin is a galactagogue that increases the breast milk of breastfeeding mothers. So if you have trouble producing enough milk for your infant, you may also try cumin to facilitate milk production. Plus, it will also improve your mood and keep you energized throughout the day.
However, one of the side effects of cumin according to Healthline is its ability to trigger a miscarriage on pregnant women. It may also increase a woman’s body heat which is detrimental for the baby. You should avoid excessive amounts if you are using it during pregnancy.
When is it Safe to Use Cumin Water in Babies?
Pacifying a colicky baby can be hard, so some parents choose to deal with a tummy ache at the OPD. But unless your kid manifests some serious symptoms, you’ll probably only go home with a Simethicone prescription. So if you want to introduce cumin to your little one instead, when and how do you start?
According to pediatric gastroenterologist Dr. Anca Safta, aromatic spices like cumin are safe for infants six months and above. As you start giving solid foods to your baby, you can also throw in spices for flavor. Just avoid spicy ones like chili as it can cause a burning sensation in the tongue and gut.
The best way to start introducing cumin to your baby is by giving him cumin water first. As his diet varies, you can also add cumin seeds to his diet.
- Give only around two to three teaspoons of cumin water for babies just starting on solids thrice a week.
- Gradually increase the amount to two to three tablespoons. Give this amount to your baby twice or thrice a week.
- Babies older than one year can have ¼ cup cumin water thrice a week. You can give this to your child only on every alternate day.
- You can also give cumin to older kids with recurring digestion issues.
How to Make Cumin Water
Preparing your baby’s cumin water is relatively easy. It will take no more than ten minutes of boiling. You won’t need other fancy equipment other than a saucepan and a strainer for it. Roasting, as some people usually do, is not necessary for your baby’s cumin water. Aside from being tedious, roasting can also lower its nutritive value.
Here’s how to get started:
- Wash the cumin seeds thoroughly before using them.
- Bring to a rolling boil two cups of water with one teaspoon of cumin.
- Boil it for about 7-10 minutes more in a low flame until the water is reduced to about half.
- Cool and drain.
Cumin water can be given without any sweetener – not even honey – to babies between 6-12 months old. It’s okay since they can’t tell the difference yet. You can introduce this a little at a time until he will get used to it.
Side Effects of Cumin Tea
Cumin hardly causes an allergy, but there might be babies that can still have sensitivity towards it. When introducing it to your baby for the first time, give it in small quantities. If your baby exhibits an allergic reaction, call his doctor.
Most of the time, it is also a safe idea to consult with your doctor before giving your baby anything. This is true if you are giving any new foods and any of you parents have certain allergies. Also, give cumin tea in moderation to prevent other unknown harmful side effects.
Storing Cumin Tea
You can store cumin tea for a day at room temperature. Refrigerating it is not advisable as it will only reduce its essential health benefits. It is always nice to serve freshly boiled cumin tea to your baby. So instead of making it in bulk, you can start a fresh boil every time.
When shopping for cumin seeds, choose the organic and husk-free ones. Whole seeds are preferable for making cumin tea than powdered form as it retains its essential nutrients. But the latter is easier to sneak into the baby’s diet when introducing it to his solid food.
Your pantry often holds potent herbs and spices with useful medicinal values. You just need to look further about what it can do. Sometimes, its benefits will also prove to be important for your baby’s overall health.
But like we always say, a doctor’s advice is the first thing a mother should seek. We know you want the best for your children, and we do too. So, before starting any food and medication, check with your healthcare provider.
Have you tried using cumin tea before? Or any other herbal remedies for your little ones? Share your experiences with us and other parents by commenting down below! We love to hear from you!
Ann Marie is a licensed nurse in the Philippines. She had experiences in handling and assisting deliveries of newborns into the world. She also used to train in labor rooms and pediatric wards – helping soon-to-be mothers and little kids in the process. Though not a mother by nature but a mother by heart, Ann Marie loves to take care of her younger cousins as well as nephews and nieces during her free time.